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The Library

Kathleen Baird–Murray

Editor’s Letter

A few days in, how’s 2019 shaping up for you? That was the question we posed to poet and regular contributor to the Wildsmith Papers, Wilson Oryema, who imagines an alternative utopia where all humanity’s problems have been solved, in the poem he has composed especially for us.

Such optimism is typical of every new year, but while it’s normal to focus on new beginnings, shouldn’t we also be thinking about new endings? In this issue of the Papers, we hope to put an end to eating unhealthily as we learn to question where our food actually comes from. At the heart of Danielle Fox’s piece about foods that heal is a wish to end our reliance on unnecessary medication – after all, we could just as easily prevent a cold with a lemon, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a slice of ginger, some honey and a little raw garlic as we could by begging the doctor for antibiotics.

Meanwhile, some endings are also new beginnings. There are no reliable statistics for the number of homeless people on our streets – the charity Shelter estimated 320,000 people sleeping rough in 2018 – and with so many of the causes of homelessness related to family breakdown, addiction, and mental illness, there are no easy solutions either. But for hairdresser Joshua Coombes, the subject of our Good Deeds interview by David Annand, the simple act of giving a haircut was transformative for the homeless people who became his clients, giving them a sense of self-worth and lifting their spirits. And for Coombes himself, it was the start of a new, life-changing philosophy of doing something for nothing. As resolutions go, it looks like 2019 is off to a good start already.

We hope you enjoy this issue, and look forward to seeing you again next month.

With love,

Kathleen Baird-Murray

Sustainable Beauty has Come of Age

Paper I Beauty Matters

As a baby, Josephine Fairley loved to create her own natural, home-made skincare; as an adult, she would go on to have a stellar career as a beauty editor in a world of high-tech beauty. But what if these polar opposites could meet?

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Wild Swimming in the UK

Paper I The Wild Side

Ice cold shivers, furry rocks underfoot, nipping minnows… for fans of wild swimming, nothing beats the thrill of leaping into a natural pool. Charlotte Sinclair says it’s time to dip a toe in the water

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Wild at Heart Foundation

Paper I Good Deeds

When society florist Nikki Tibbles embarked on her third dog rescue mission to Puerto Rico, she thought she knew what to expect. But as Fiona Golfar discovers, you’re never quite prepared for the heartbreak and inspiration

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Wild Grass: A Poem

Paper I Wise Words

My love, the red bricks are still here and so is the sense of loneliness. It is strange to think my roots grew here but I ripped them from their beginnings and tried to plant them elsewhere

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Be More… Skye Gyngell

Paper I The Wild One

Real dilemmas; real solutions. From our real-life super-heroes. This issue: Skye Gyngell, head chef at Spring, votes to take her brother-in-law Jeremy on a life raft and safeguards the fish in the ocean

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The Bitterest Pill

Paper II Beauty Matters

Taking a daily dose of supplements to boost your health and wellbeing is good for you, right? Not, it turns out, necessarily. Sharon Walker investigates what we’re really swallowing

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How To Go Off Grid in the City

Paper II How to Live Wild

Going off grid in the city is a really wild way of reducing your carbon footprint, your bills and probably your circle of friends, as all your time will be spent either trying to grow your food or praying for the sun to shine in order to dry your hair. It’s also a brilliant way to ease anxiety because if that rather dicey situation in North Korea or Russia, or indeed anything to do with Donald Trump, ever escalates, you will be apocalypse-ready. Clemmie Hambro tells us how it’s done. Artwork by Michalis Christodoulou.

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Be More... Eric

Paper II The Wild One

Real dilemmas; real solutions. From our real-life super-heroes. This issue: former Royal Ballet Soloist Eric Underwood has a crush on Oprah Winfrey and is thankful for not fitting in

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Back to nature

Paper III Beauty Matters

As the annual beach-body-ready season kicks off in earnest, Christa D’Souza celebrates her decision to have her breast implants removed and finds that for her anyway, natural is best

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Could a Shaman change your life?

Paper III The Wild Side

It’s not just in California that people are starting to regard a visit to a shaman as essential as medical check-ins with a doctor. But beyond taking the pulse of your aura and giving you a supercharged dose of TLC, are there any deeper effects? David Annand goes in search of the modern-day urban shaman to find out

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Be More... Paloma

Paper III The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This issue, just back from her world tour, Paloma Faith uses Tinder in entirely the wrong way and no longer chases idiots.

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@MeditationBob

Paper III Good Deeds

Bob Roth is the world’s most in-demand Transcendental Meditation coach with some 25.7k followers on Instagram, many of them celebrity devotees. He sat at the feet of guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1970s and today he dispenses wisdom to stressed-out, 21st-century souls, including war veterans, British school children and Katy Perry. By Kathleen Baird-Murray

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Be More... Bill

Paper IV The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This issue, leather designer Bill Amberg is murder on the dance floor and a murderer on a life raft.

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Every breath you take

Paper V Beauty Matters

Fancy cutting six months off your life? Breathe our deeply polluted air and you will, according to statistics predicting British city dwellers live six months less than in other parts of the world. Natalie Evans-Harding argues the time has come to take note of air pollution and its effects on our health. So why aren’t we?

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Into the Woods

Paper V Good Deeds

With as many as one in ten children and young people suffering from mental health problems*, it feels like the idyll of childhood has been lost. But, discovers Fiona Golfar, a charity supported by Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex is using nature to help troubled teens heal their fears and anxieties

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Be More... Nancy

Paper V The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. One half of the band Babeheaven (“we’re the best band ever, so cool and so nice”), Nancy Andersen drinks from the Love Island cup and admits to being a bit of a Drake fan from time to time.

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Back-to-school books for grown-ups

Paper V The Wild Side

September always feels like a fresh start. Blank pages, sharp pencils, new shoes – they all point to renewed ambitions, boundless energy, the chance to do better. In the energising spirit of grasping summer’s close as a moment of opportunity, Ellie Pithers suggests eight books to set you on a wild, open-minded course – and all from the safety of a fireside armchair

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Why sleep deprivation is as bad as smoking

Paper VI Beauty Matters

Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity – it seems not getting enough sleep has a lot to answer for. David Annand, who is pretty sure his nightly, six (interrupted) hours isn’t healthy, finds out how much we actually need and, more importantly, how to make sure we get it

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Be More... Jan

Paper VI The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. A model now, a model back then, a model citizen always – American-born Anglophile Jan de Villeneuve believes wishes can come true and just might be related to Spike Lee.

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One step at a time

Paper VI The Wild Side

From a daily constitution to an epic trek, a meander through city streets to a bracing, headland hike, stepping out on foot has a way of bringing you back to yourself. Charlotte Sinclair explores the healing power of the humble walk

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These books will change the way you think about beauty

Paper VII Beauty Matters

Images of beauty bombard us. From the moment we wake up and put on our make-up (as Aretha Franklin so eloquently put it) until we go to bed at night, pictures of painted faces, glossy hair, bodies of all shapes, sizes, colours and ages pop up on Instagram, fill the pages of magazines, beam through our screens, and dress blank spaces in museums and galleries. But how often do we consider beauty from an intellectual point of view? Pull up a chair, make yourself comfortable, and read these excellent books which in different ways, challenge our obsession with physical perfection and pose guilt-free, sometimes complex questions to make us re-evaluate the way we think about beauty.

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Lights, camera, action

Paper VII Good Deeds

#BeMoreMark. Last year cinematographer Mark Milsome was tragically killed while filming in Ghana which threw his wife, daughter and much of the British film industry into mourning. The man who was behind the camera for countless classics, including Game of Thrones and The Theory of Everything, inspired love, laughter and respect, and today a charitable foundation in his name hopes to spread some of his enormous goodwill. Fiona Golfar finds out more.

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Be More... Val

Paper VII The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. World-class make-up artist Val Garland, author of Validated, saves the planet one fleck of glitter at a time and talks to angels. By Kathleen Baird-Murray

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Banking on kindness

Paper VIII Beauty Matters

For many of the 13 million people in the UK living below the poverty line, grooming essentials such as toothpaste, tampons and deodorant have become unreachable luxuries – a fact that catapulted PR Jo Jones and writer Sali Hughes into launching Beauty Banks, a charitable foundation committed to providing hygiene products to the most needy. Here, Jo’s husband, author Dan Jones, describes life at home amidst a sea of donations

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Shaping the landscape

Paper VIII The Wild Side

When the eternal beauty of the natural world embraces the artistry of sculpture, something extraordinary happens. From Bronze Age man’s carved figures on the canvas of the countryside to modern day masters’ sculptural creations in parks around the country, Jo Craven explores the awe-inspiring alchemy of art in nature

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Be more... Sinéad

Paper VIII The Wild One

Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This month the Irish writer, academic and advocate Sinéad Burke champions climate justice and dances to the Spice Girls. By Kathleen Baird-Murray

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